Kim Min-jae makes ‘new history’ as first Asian to win Serie A’s best defender award

Kim Min-jae (27-Naples) has been named the best defender in the Italian Serie A. He was also named to the Serie A Team of the Year (Best 11). Both honors are firsts for an Asian player.

Kim Min-jae was named the 2022-23 Serie A Defender of the Year, as announced by the Italian Serie A secretariat on Tuesday. The honor is bestowed upon only one defender out of all those who have played in Serie A in a single season. After being shortlisted for the award alongside teammate Giovanni Di Lorenzo and AC Milan defender Theo Hernandez, he was named the winner.

This is the first time an Asian player has ever been named Serie A’s best defender and the first time Kim has been named to the Best 11. Not only did he make history in Serie A, but also in Korean and Asian soccer, becoming the first player in Serie A history to win the best defender award for the winning team. This makes Kim’s win even more special.

The Best Defender award is one of the three Serie A awards given out by the league’s secretariat since the 2018-19 season. Only six players are eligible for the podium, including the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), Young Player of the Year, and one player from each of the following positions: forward, midfielder, defender, and goalkeeper. The winners are chosen not by popular vote, but solely based on detailed on-field metrics throughout the season. This includes publicly available metrics such as aerial battles and tackles, as well as more detailed records such as technical efficiency and pressure efficiency.

Kim made 35 Serie A appearances this season, scoring two goals and providing two assists. He ranked in the top 10 in most defensive metrics, including 2nd in aerial ball wins (92), 4th in clearances (122), and 10th in overall wins (157). Regardless of the Serie A title, his performance as a defender was impressive in and of itself. In the end, Kim beat out stiff competition from the likes of Di Lorenzo and Theo Hernandez.

After being named Serie A’s best defender, it was a natural progression for Kim to be named to the league’s Best 11. In fact, his inclusion in the Best 11 was a foregone conclusion given his record and performances this season, but more attention was paid to the more competitive Best Defender award, which he won.

In breaking the “strange formula” of the Serie A awards, Kim made a mark on the Serie A awards as well. Until now, the Serie A awards have not been associated with the defender of the winning team. However, Kim became the first player in the history of the award to lead his team to the title and be named the best defender. Beyond making Asian history, Kim also made Serie A history.

The achievements were made all the more significant by the fact that they came in just his first season in Serie A. Kim Min-jae joined Napoli from Fenerbahçe (Turkkiye) in July last year, making his first appearance in a major European league. He was tasked with filling the void left by Kalidou Koulibaly’s departure to Chelsea. With no experience in the big leagues, there were a lot of question marks at the time of his transfer.

However, Kim quickly established himself as one of the best defenders in Serie A, let alone Napoli. In September, he became the first Asian player to win the player of the month award. For the rest of the season, he remained a key defender for the team, eventually leading Napoli to the top of the league for the first time in 33 years. The Serie A Defender of the Year award cemented his place as the defensive star of the season 토토사이트.

The Serie A secretariat congratulated Kim on the award, saying, “Congratulations on an impressive debut.” Italy’s Corriere dello Sport said, “Kim Min-jae surprised everyone in his first season in Serie A. He came in to replace Koulibaly. He came in to replace Koulibaly and sent shockwaves through the league. He impressed everyone and quickly attracted the attention of big European clubs.” In addition to Kim, striker Victor Osimhen was named the Best Offensive Player. Napoli became the first club to win more than one position player in a season. Kim joined the club’s record books.

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